Content

Study Assistance Policy and Procedure

Policy overview

1 Purpose

Aims to encourage and support University employees to undertake further education.

2 Scope

Applicable to all full-time and fractional continuing employees and all full-time and fractional fixed term employees appointed for more than 12 months.

3 Policy Statement

The University encourages its employees to undertake further education. All employees appointed on a continuing basis or on fixed term contract for more than 12 months may apply to receive study assistance from the University when undertaking an approved program of study.

(Approved by Council June 1998)

4 Procedures

4.1 Eligible programs of study

Study assistance is limited to a program of study for the award of postgraduate qualifications, degrees, diplomas, certificates (including TAFE or other Registered Training Organisation), or other approved qualifications.

The study must be related directly to the employee's current primary duties and/or likely career progression within USQ. For undergraduate study at least 50% of the program must satisfy this requirement and for postgraduate study at least 75%.

For the employee to be eligible for assistance, the study must be undertaken at USQ except where the University does not offer a comparable program. Employees undertaking study at an institution other than USQ, must submit written justification to the Executive Director (Human Resources) for approval or otherwise.

Study may be undertaken by on-campus, external or on-line mode. Decisions about enrolment will normally emerge from the setting of goals in the BUILD performance review process or other staff development discussions between the employee and supervisor.

4.2 Forms of Study Assistance

Study assistance at USQ includes two forms of support for eligible employees: financial assistance and time release. Where an eligible employee requests both forms of study assistance, the relevant Delegate must approve both forms of assistance. Further information to assist faculties and sections is available in the Study Assistance Guidelines.

Employees appointed on a fractional basis will receive financial assistance and time release on a pro rata basis only, as determined by their fraction of appointment.

The maximum study assistance available for both time release and financial assistance is four (4) courses per year per eligible employee.

4.2.1 Time Release

Time release for study purposes is available for all eligible professional and academic employees, regardless of classification level.

Time release is available to the equivalent of two (2) hours per course per week with a maximum of four (4) hours per week per semester of study (except during semester breaks) regardless of the mode of study approved, up to a maximum of four (4) courses per year.

The time release must be used for study purposes (e.g. attendance at lectures/tutorials on or off-campus, attendance at residential schools or examinations, private study, or research).

The leave may be accumulated, but not beyond the semester of accrual.

The manner in which the leave is to be taken must be determined and approved by the Category 4 Delegate or above at the time of application for Study Assistance.

Time release for study purposes must be taken within the employee's normal working hours and does not contribute towards any additional hours worked by the employee (e.g. overtime, time off in lieu).

4.2.2 Financial Assistance

Financial assistance consists of a taxable allowance paid through the University payroll upon evidence of successful completion to a maximum of four (4) courses per year regardless of the fee status or structure, payable on proof of successful completion of the course/s of study from the institution. No other financial assistance will be provided.

Financial assistance is not available for research higher degree programs.

Taxable allowances towards financial assistance for study purposes are available as follows:

Approved Program of Study

Level of Financial Assistance
(taxable allowance amount) 

Diploma, Certificate or other similar program (TAFE or other RTO)

$500 per successfully completed course

Undergraduate and CPA programs

$1200 per successfully completed course

Postgraduate programs

$1500 per successfully completed course

Financial assistance may be used towards payment of any expenses associated with completing approved programs of study including course fees, textbooks and other study materials and/or other associated fees and charges. Financial assistance is not necessarily expected or intended to cover all the costs incurred.

In cases of exceptional financial hardship, an employee may apply to the Vice-Chancellor for alternative arrangements for financial support.

The cost of financial assistance will be met by the central University Study Assistance Fund administered by Human Resources. The ongoing level of assistance is dependent on the annual allocated budget in the central Human Resources Study Assistance Fund and the quantum of claims and will be reviewed on an annual basis to determine ongoing financial sustainability.

Financial assistance will only apply to courses where an employee has personally paid for the course fee/s and has not received other University funded financial support for their studies, for example, payment by a scholarship.

Employees should seek professional financial advice in relation to their personal taxation circumstances in regard to the amount claimable as a tax deduction in the relevant tax year. The employee is responsible for retaining the appropriate documentation to enable them to comply with their personal taxation affairs.

4.2.2.1 Financial assistance - professional employees

Financial assistance is available to employees classified at USQ Levels 1 to 10 inclusive.

4.2.2.2 Financial assistance - academic employees

Financial assistance is limited to employees classified at Academic Level A.

Financial assistance may also be available to Academic Level B employees who do not possess a doctoral qualification to undertake an approved program of study to obtain a coursework doctoral qualification in a field relevant to their area of expertise and in accordance with USQ's goals and objectives. In this instance, applications for financial assistance will be assessed on a case by case basis by Human Resources in conjunction with the approving delegate.

4.3 How to apply for study assistance

Applications for study assistance are called by Human Resources on a semesterly basis and must be made on the 'Application for Study Assistance' form in advance of the commencement of each semester, with the exception of year long courses where applications will be made at the beginning of the year. Applications must be accompanied by proof of enrolment in a course. Before commencement of study, applications will be forwarded to the relevant supervisor for recommendation to the Category 4 Delegate or above. Employees undertaking study at an institution other than USQ, must submit their application to the Executive Director (Human Resources) for approval.

In the case where study assistance is not approved, the grounds for refusal must be provided to the applicant by the supervisor and/or Category 4 Delegate or above and the application forwarded to Human Resources for archival purposes only.

Supported applications must be forwarded to the Executive Director, Human Resources three weeks before the commencement of semester for approval. Study Assistance approval will not normally be backdated.

The Executive Director, Human Resources will provide written advice of the decision, including the level of University assistance, to the employee and the approving Delegate.

In the event that an employee with approved study assistance transfers or is seconded to another section of USQ, the employee will retain the approval until the end of the approved semester (including year-long units). Further study assistance will require another application to be approved by the new employing department.

An employee who has had study assistance approved will retain approval until the end of the approved semester in either of the following circumstances:

  • the employee is promoted through the Academic Promotion Round to a higher level than Academic Level A (or Level B where approved), or
  • the employee accepts a new position at a higher level than Academic Level A (or Level B where approved) or USQ Level 10 within or outside the approving cost centre.

Where an employee resigns or has their appointment terminated by USQ prior to the end of the semester of study, the employee will no longer be eligible to receive any form of study assistance.

4.4 How to claim financial assistance

An eligible employee will receive a taxable allowance paid through the University payroll system up to the agreed financial assistance limit upon the successful completion of the approved course/s. To receive the taxable allowance, an employee must submit to Human Resources:

  • a copy of the approval letter from the Executive Director, Human Resources;
  • the completed Study Assistance Allowance Claim form, and
  • a copy of successful assessment results.

The employee must forward the appropriate documentation to Human Resources for processing within 30 days of receipt of official assessment results.

Employees who have received study assistance are requested to forward a copy of their completed qualification to Human Resources for record-keeping purposes.

5 Appendix 1

The following USQ terminology has been used for the purposes of this policy:

USQ Terminology

Equivalent Other Terminology

Unit

Credit Point

Course

Unit

Program

Course

Term (although Semester will still be used. For example the first term in the year 2002 will be called Semester 1, 2002)

Semester

6 Delegated responsibilities

Approver

Level of Delegation

Executive Director, Human Resources

Approval or otherwise of assistance for study undertaken at an institution other than USQ

Authorisation of financial assistance expenditure from central funds

Category 4 Delegate or above

Approval or otherwise of study assistance applications for study undertaken at USQ

7 Policy Information

Accountable Officer

Executive Director, Human Resources

Policy Type

Regulated Policy and Procedure

Approved Date

1/8/2010

Effective Date

1/8/2010

Review Date

Relevant Legislation

University of Southern Queensland Enterprise Agreement 2010 - 2013

Related Policies

Learning and Development Policy and Procedure

Related Procedures

 

Related forms, publications and websites

Application for Study Assistance form

Study Assistance Allowance Claim form

Study Assistance Proposed Study Plan

Guidelines for Time Release

Definitions

 

Keywords

Study Assistance, Professional Development, Further Education, conference, research

TRIM Record No

13/448PL

 

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Failure to adhere to this policy may be a breach of the USQ Code of Conduct.